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Start Spreading the News

Meet some of our readers who are helping us build the Indy’s circulation

John Tarleton Dec 19

Issue 220

Thanks to foundation support we received this fall, The Indypendent is in the process of doubling its print circulation. We are placing outdoor news boxes around the city. We are also putting wire news racks at public libraries and other venues.

None of this would be possible without the help of volunteers who maintain the boxes and find new venues where the paper can be shared. Here are the firsthand stories of several of the unsung heroes who are helping build a grassroots media revolution.

Arun Aguiar

Canarsie, Brooklyn

Photo: Ali Galante

Canarsie is a working-class, mostly Caribbean and African-American neighborhood out here at the end of the L train. Last spring, I organized a Bernie Sanders field office when I realized there would not otherwise be one in Canarsie. We connected with 200 people and built a core group of 20 who did phone banking and block-by-block canvassing.

I began distributing The Indypendent after I saw a call for help in last month’s issue. I began by approaching the three public libraries here in Canarsie about carrying The Indy. One of the libraries now accepts a stack of papers while the other two are going through the process of reviewing the paper. We also have a number of senior centers and community centers in Canarsie that I am reaching out to.

I recently attended a holiday party at a senior center where I personally placed about 60 copies of the paper into the hands of individual people. Only a couple copies were thrown in the trash or left on the table. The rest were taken home.

One person I met at the party is a retired mailman. I told him I would bring back copies of the next issue and he could be the one to go around and hand the paper out to each person. And he said, “Great, – I love that – I’ll do that!”

Placing one of the outdoor boxes by the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway subway station might be a good idea. Most people travel to and from Canarsie by train. There are also five bus lines that drop off at that station so there’s a constant stream of people.

My goal is to achieve saturation coverage in my neighborhood. The Indy is a great educational tool for an already aware community. For those who end up reading it, I think it will add to their level of sophistication and understanding of the multitude of issues confronting them.

Pam & Chris Brown

South Slope, Brooklyn

We run Align Brooklyn, a wellness studio that offers yoga, pilates and chiropractic services. Earlier this fall we placed one of The Indypendent’s wire racks on the sidewalk in front of our business at Fifth Avenue and 16th Street. It holds several hundred papers and I’m amazed at how quickly the papers are taken. The people coming through our business care a lot about politics and the world. They understand wellness is more than individual. It’s societal as well.

To maintain the rack, it’s just a matter of the last person working at night putting it inside the door and then we put it back out in the morning. It’s really important to expand the circulation of The Indy, especially now that we’re entering the Age of Trump. Having voices outside of corporate media may be one of the only things that can save our democracy. It’s also important for the Left to get on the same page and have a space like The Indy where a variety of left opinions can be discussed.

Any business where community is important shouldn’t hesitate to carry the paper. For us, it’s good marketing. It says who we are and what we’re about. We’re proud to be associated with The Indy and with the Left and with independent media.

Bill Koehnlein

East Village

I have been politically active since I joined the civil rights and peace movements as a teenager in the early 60s. For many years I worked with The Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School and also work with The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory which was founded in 1990. The Indypendent is a really fine paper. There’s a lot of New York City-oriented coverage —something the city definitely needs from left media. It’s in the tradition of independent, non-sectarian left media like the old Guardian weekly newspaper based here in New York whose demise was a big loss for the left and left media when it collapsed in 1992.
 
I maintain a couple of Indy boxes along Second Avenue near where I live. It’s a very busy pedestrian area. The box located at Second Avenue and Fourth Street is located right in the middle of a number of theaters and restaurants as well as the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association. It’s positioned right next to a box for AM New York and another box for the Village Voice. It’s gratifying to see the Indy box there because it’s our media. And judging by the speed by which the box gets depleted you know people appreciate it.
 
Lew Friedman

Park Slope, Brooklyn

I am a retired New York City public school teacher. Back in the late ‘60s, I used to deliver an underground newspaper called The Rat to shops and stores in Brooklyn. It did a lot of coverage of the Vietnam War and the resistance to it.

These days, I’m helping The Indypendent. I monitor a couple of their new outdoor boxes on Seventh Avenue near where I live. I keep track of how the papers are moving make sure the boxes remain clean and that there’s always a display copy in the window.

Besides the boxes, I try to get The Indy out on Facebook and email. I have almost 700 friends on Facebook and a big list of names, a lot of them local, who are interested on email. When I go away for several weeks this winter, I have a friend in the neighborhood who will help with watching the boxes.

The Indy is covering so much great news — real news, as opposed to all that fake news we’ve been getting, including from The New York Times. There’s a lot of good anti-racist coverage in The Indy, which is crucial, as well as articles on climate change and the environment. Recently, The Indy had an issue on the impact of Trump’s election and what he can do to us. This is important news and analysis to get into the hands of more people.

Want to get involved in helping build The Indy’s circulation? Email us at contact@indypendent.org, or call 212-904-1282.

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